How to Get Married in California
Berkeley Parents Network >
Holidays and Special Events >
How to Get Married in California
Does anyone know the exact things you need to do to get married
in California? I want to just have a civil ceremony, but I don't
know what I need? What county do you get a marriage license
in--the one you live in or the one you get married in? Is there a
waiting period? I mean, can you apply for a license and get
married on the same day? Do you have to bring witnesses? How do I
change my name? Does anyone know any nice courthouses nearby? Any
help and/or guidance would be greatly appreciated, including
anything else I may have forgotten!
Trot yourself and your future spouse down to the county
courthouse, fill out the form (make sure to spell your fathers'
middle names correctly...my husband and I both blew it on this
one) and give them a check for $50 or so and you're good to go.
No, nobody cares what county you live in, versus where you're
getting married. I got married in LA County when I was living
in South Carolina.
I think if you want them to do the wedding, you should make an
appointment. If you have a priest hanging around, just have her
sign at the bottom. BTW, they don't check the priest's
credentials...I know because my husband's stepfather married
us. He's part of a funky New Age church...and we've never had
any questions from the state. He just wrote in ''Christian'' on
the denomination blank....
6 years ago, we got the license and the mini-ceremony the same
day at oakland city hall. not a scenic location, but efficient.
now it seems they have reduced the nmber of locations
performing ceremonies, but it's still pretty easy.
We got married in our back yard with our closest friends in
Oakland. One of our friends officiated the ceremony (we got him
authorized for a little extra money). The whole process was
extremely easy. One stop shopping service at Alameda County
Clerk's office at 1106 Madison Street. You can call for
information at 510-272-6362. The license was good for 90 days.
I know you can get married on the same day because we got to
witness a wedding right there.
You get your marriage licence in the county you're getting married in
(if you do a civil ceremony some where), OR the county you FILE
in. For example, some friends of mine who live in Berkeley had a civil
ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco, therefore, they have a San
Francisco county Marriage Licence. I had a, um, *not* civil ceremony
last September, in which my friend (who got ordained throught the
Universalist Life Church) married us and then we filed with Alameda
county (we live in Oakland) so we have an Alameda County marriage
licence. I believe that all you need to do is make an appointment
wherever you decide to have the ceremony (San Francisco City Hall is a
wonderful place to have them, I understand), bring a couple of
witnesses (and your ID, I think) and the filing fee (they'll tell you
how much). I imagine other people will think of anything I've missed.
Best of luck!
Alameda County Newlywed
I got married just two years ago. Everything you need to know can
be found at this website:
Basically, you go to the county office to get your marriage
license and, yes, I think you can get married the same day. We
went to the Alameda Co. office in Oakland on 10th street (near
the Oakland Museum), but there are a couple of branches. Anyway,
this site should tell you the locations of these offices by
county. You need one witness, but we had two just to be safe. We
got our license in April and were married May 1st by the city
clerk of Berkeley. He did a very nice ceremony and we had a
couple of friends there as witnesses, along with my son. We then
retired to a local pizza/beer garden for a quick ''reception.''
We then had two later weddings for family and friends, but that's
a different story.
Congratulations and good luck,
So the marriage process is pretty simple. You can go to the
courthouse in Oakland, check out the city website for the exact
address (it's in downtown Oakland). You and your partner bring a
valid driver's license, pay the $80 fee for the marriage license and
then you can get married that same day from 9am to 3:30. If you want
to get married in a fancy location you can check out SF and register
online. In Oakland you just have to show up and wait for you turn, no
need to make an appointment. You can find out about the courthouse
location on the web (for Oakland just go to the offcial city of
Hope that helps and Blessings on your marriage
I have 3 friends who decided to get married at City Hall in SF.
I actually photographed one of their weddings, it's much nicer
than most places. You've probably even seen it on the news with
the gay marriage news coverage - big sweeping staircase and
balconies. You call SF City Hall or check out
http://www.sfgov.org/site/countyclerk_index.asp?id=4466, make an
appt I believe or you may even be able to just show up and wait
your turn. You can bring guests but if you don't want anyone
but you and your fiance, someone there will witness the marriage
for you so that's done. Wish you all the luck with your
upcoming marriage. Congratulations.
This link to the Alameda County Clerk's Office will answer some
of your questions.
this page was last updated: May 26, 2008
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network